In (and Out) of the Office: Selah

In many of the Old Testament psalms, one comes across the word, “Selah.” While scholars disagree about the precise meaning and implication of the term, there seems to be general agreement that it indicates a pause of some kind — perhaps so that a musical interlude can be played, or so that worshipers can pause for reflection. In so doing, “Selah” teaches the valuable lesson that even the most sacred rhythms of prayer and worship can benefit from a pause now and then — a time in which we quiet ourselves before the Lord and focus more on listening rather than speaking.


I am feeling the need for such a pause in my own rhythms of prayer and reflection. It has proven to be very meaningful for me to take some time each weekday, reading the passages of the Daily Office and composing a few thoughts. But as some significant transitions take place in my life (my daughter graduates from high school this week) — and as I join with some close friends to begin discerning prayerfully the directions in which God is calling my church family — I’ve come to believe that I need to focus more listening and less on writing.

And so, I’m going to take a break — a “Selah” — from these “In the Office” reflections. I fully intend to take up the discipline again. And I may post the occasional paragraph or two when the fruits of my reading and prayer seem worthy of sharing. But as I do pause, I would be grateful for your prayers — with a quiet, grateful, and discerning heart being among the chief requests. And I would leave you for today with these words from one of today’s psalms — Psalm 52:

I trust in God’s unfailing love
    for ever and ever.
For what you have done I will always praise you
    in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name,
    for your name is good. (Verses 8b-9)

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